Our first day of hop harvest this year was Saturday, September 3rd. Nearly two dozen volunteers descended on Smith Rock Hop Farm starting at 7am in order to meet a deadline. Immersion Brewing was asking for 100lbs of Centennial hops by 2pm, an order we had a hard time fulfilling for Wild Ride Brewing in 2015.
A few things were different this year:
- A good portion of our bines reached the top of the trellis (18ft) and flopped over the top, triggering sidearm growth and a bounty of hops. This meant that harvest in the field wouldn’t make as much sense, so we cut them down and brought them back to our outbuildings so volunteers could pick them sitting down in the shade!
- We actually hit our 100lb goal, loaded four crates into Immersion’s truck, and they added them to the brew within hours.
- All of this was happening while our brand new drying room was being constructed. We thought it might be finished by harvest time, but the complexity of the room (which will pull hot air that reaches over 125 degrees from the south-facing wall of one of our buildings) is such that more time was needed. We ended up using our good ole 8-drawer drying oast to dry and extra 68lbs of Centennials.
- Our Cascades are still out performing our Centennials, so we need to analyze our yard and see how we can get all 450 Centennial plants to hit the top of the trellis next year.
- We had planned this yard and the potential income based on 2,000lbs of fresh product. We always knew that was on the low end of potential, but a solid number none the less. Our surprise this year was the picking of 15.5lbs off a single Cascade plant (and one that we don’t believe hit its full potential this year.) That single number can change the way we look at even our single acre of hops. Our potential harvest goes from previous 2,000lbs up to over 13,000lbs! What a difference one number can make.